Winning the transfer portal

Ian Boyd makes an intuitive point with this post.

While much of the discussion about the NCAA’s new transfer portal surrounds the blow struck for player agency, it’s likely there are other changes afoot. An easier transfer process is going to drive the evolution of the game like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, imbuing particular programs with new weapons.

The college game has already cycled through updates such as the hurry-up, no-huddle spread. The HUNH spread made the game simpler, allowing the offense to wait until the defense was set before checking into one of a few limited options.

One of the more stunning aspects of Clemson’s dominating win over Alabama was the role played by freshmen Trevor Lawrence and Justyn Ross. Lawrence hit Ross six times for 153 yards and a score on 10 targets.

But while they were both amazing high school talents, they still offer a takeaway for teams looking to plug any kind of talent into an offense. Modern spread attacks like Clemson’s make it easier to install new players, whether they’re freshmen or transfers.

Offenses that rely on schemes that are more challenging for new players to learn, like a certain one in Athens, need to face the reality that for every Jake Fromm who has the ability to grasp the basics as a true freshman, there are going to be Jacob Easons and Justin Fieldses who don’t.  Those kids will have every incentive and, more importantly, plenty of opportunity to take their skills to another program that will find a way to unlock those sooner.

That doesn’t mean Georgia should give up the chase.  Quite the contrary, it behooves Smart to grab all the elite quarterbacking talent he can.  You never know whether a quarterback is ready until he’s had time in your program, and with the new transfer protocol, those who don’t measure up will move on to greener pastures, reopening roster spots at the position for the staff to fill.

There is something to be said for efficiency when your coaches are good at talent accumulation.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics, Transfers Are For Coaches.

23 responses to “Winning the transfer portal

  1. ASEF

    Exactly. If you’ve got the best recruiting and a winning environment that helps players be patient, more player movement is a win for your program. It talent osmosis were a thing, we’d see it in recruiting. And we don’t. We see the opposite of that.

    More transfer freedom is, big picture, a plus for Georgia and elite programs in general. More ways to plug holes in the roster, more bites at the recruiting apple.

    But hey, let’s fight it tooth and nail because “kids today.”


  2. Russ

    I think eventually Kirby will have to simplify the offense some, since it’s going to be hard to hold onto elite QBs. I have little doubt Fields will thrive quickly in the right scheme as we’ve seen others (Murray, Mayfield) do in limited time in a program. BTW, Kirby was right not to change the scheme for Fields last season since it works fine for Fromm. But when Fromm leaves, or gets hurt, we can be in trouble.


    • 81Dog

      Mayfield had to sit a year at OU, and he learned the system enough to start the next 3 years. Kyler Murray had to sit a year at OU after his transfer, then had to sit behind Mayfield. Not sure how that equates to Fields. He may end up being great, but he didn’t learn the Ohio St offense last year and he’s not sitting and learning fir the next year or two to pick it up.


    • Tony Barnfart

      I don’t have full doubt that he’ll thrive, but i have some. Or more than a little. First year head coach, first year in a system. If Tate Martell is even half right (that the system is complicated), my doubts just went up.


      • ASEF

        Most of Haskins’ passes were in the “behind the line of scrimmage” or “1-10” yards category. It’s not the offense Tate was recruited to run, which is why Ohio State traded Martell for Fields.

        Fields is going to have to be quick on his decision making and releases – and accurate.

        Ohio State was in a lot of shootouts last year. Could get interesting for him.


  3. Bright Idea

    Most high schools run the spread because of summer 7 on 7 and coaches don’t have to stress blocking. That’s why it’s easier to plug freshmen in, not that a pro style is overly complicated, just novel to most freshmen. Even in the spread the QB has to do some thinking and reading of the defense, but they’ve been in a similar system in HS.


    • Yep … good post. Don’t forget about the effect of the 20 hour rule as well.


    • JCDawg83

      High schools also love the spread because it allows a team to get it’s most physically gifted player, usually the qb, one on one with defenders more. At the high school level, it is also much easier to teach offensive linemen to “get in the way” of the defender than to actually block and move him, especially if the defensive linemen are as big or bigger than the offensive linemen.


    • sniffer

      Bright, your comments about 7 on 7 led me to wonder about this. Cam Newton is a big proponent of and sponsor of 7 on 7. He teaches and coaches; clearly believes in it. So my question is whether or not he would have been a better league qb if Carolina had used him like he was accustomed to at Auburn? They took away his running tendencies to throw more and get hit less. My take is he has under performed at the pro level compared to college (no big breaking news). Are 7 on 7 players being developed for that specific game style and losing fundamental skills for the next level?


      • 81Dog

        I think the answer to that is Cam doesn’t enjoy the same physical superiority over defenders that he did in HS or even college. The LBs and Ss that are hitting him are guided missles who are just as big and athletic as he is. Hasn’t he taken quite a few shots in his career that put him out of games? Exposing him to more shots might result in a few more big plays, but might also put him out for a season.

        Lots of approaches work when you are just way better athletes than your opponents. Sometimes, schemes can make up for lesser athleticism, especially if the greater athleticism is poorly prepared. But when talent works hard, it generally doesn’t lose to schemes, unless the schemes are run by equal or greater talent that is equally or better prepared


  4. Dawgflan

    I’m impressed Kirby got the WRs he did given that it always seems to take 2 years for ours to see the field, and then have to block 90% of the time when they do get in game.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. W Cobb Dawg

    Not sure I agree with Boyd’s premise. I’d hardly consider 5-star players like Lawrence and Ross as “plug-ins”, as they were top recruits for an offense Clemson has run for years. And I can easily recall plenty of freshmen who had success in pro-style offenses. Fromm, as Bluto cites, Andrew Thomas, and DeAndre Swift being a few. Heck, even with his significant talent limitations and little time to acclimate, Lambert was able to run a pro-style offense. He was a 3-star talent at best.

    Grier, and I’d add Stidham, probably support Boyd’s argument better. But its a reach to say giving them an extra year would’ve boosted spread offenses dramatically – and throughout cfb. I’d argue Kirby has adopted well to plugging transfers in, be it Mo Smith or Nizialek, and to a lesser extent Catalina, Hayes and DRob. If it gets to a point where Kirby needs a transfer QB I’m sure pro-style UGA will be on the shortlist of the best ones available.


    • ASEF

      Mo came into the system Kirby had been training him at Alabama. And if DRob is Robertson, he had 4 rushing attempts on the season with no receptions. Compare that 5-star WR talent in his 3rd year of college ball with a true freshman lighting up Alabama.

      Side question – I wonder if Robertson red shirted this year? He appeared in 4 games.


  6. W Cobb Dawg

    Are you saying Kirby is poor at landing transfers? Or are you saying DRob should’ve leapfrogged two 5-star (Godwin, Hardman) and a 4-star (Ridley) WRs and started immediately? Or are you saying we should discount the Mo Smith transfer because Kirby previously coached him? Is there a point to your comment?


  7. DoubleDawg1318

    I think Kirby may have to adjust his offense so that he can shorten the learning curve for new QB’s. They just aren’t going to stick around and learn the system if they can transfer into an easier situation. Even though Fromm has adjusted well, I still think he’s more comfortable in a HUNH offense as evidenced by his strong 2 minute drill performances.